"The Road To Criminal Acts Is Paved With Such Texts"

Ryan ryanhokanson at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 12 01:38:03 MST 2003

In the early morning hours of September 16, the windows of the
immigration office in Frankfurt-Oder were broken. Only a few hours
later, the web site of the Brandenburg intelligence service
(Verfassungsschutz) published an article characterising the World
Socialist Web Site (WSWS) as part of the “left-wing extremist milieu.”
The article bristled with distortions, half-truths, insinuations and
false claims.

The first thing that stands out is the date when the article was
published. According to the police, the attack on the immigration office
occurred at 3:50 a.m., Tuesday, September 16. The police investigation
lasted all day. As the local newspaper Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung
reported the next morning, an “on-the-spot briefing” took place at noon,
at which the “section head of the immigration office in Frankfurt,
Rainer Tarlach,” spoke to the press.

The first press reports appeared on Wednesday morning. However, the
article published by the intelligence service carried the date of
Tuesday, September 16, the day the attack occurred. The question arises:
Did the intelligence service have prior knowledge of the attack? When
and by whom were they informed about that night’s events?


In response to the reproach that the intelligence service, and thus a
state authority, has criminalised an article that breaks no criminal
code, Milbradt responded: “The article is not so harmless, after all.”
It contains a “fundamental criticism of the democratic state.”

This is also untrue. The WSWS article does not make a “fundamental
criticism of the democratic state.” It criticises the government, which
is not the same as the “democratic state,” and accuses it of flouting
elementary democratic rights and principles in its treatment of
foreigners and refugees. It is a typical characteristic of authoritarian
thinking to automatically interpret political criticism of the
government as an attack on the state and the social order, without
differentiating between the two.

Moreover, even radical criticism of the social order is protected by the
freedom of thought and expression and is not to be viewed as
“extremist.” The federal office of the intelligence service itself makes
this point in a brochure that is accessible on the Internet. In the
section “Extremist or Radical,” this document states: “Unjustly, it [the
term ‘extremist’] is frequently equated with radicalism. Thus, for
example, critics of capitalism who want to express fundamental doubts
about the structure of our economic and social order, and who want to
change them fundamentally, are not extremists. Radical political views
have their legitimate place in our pluralist social order. Those who
want to realise their radical aims should not fear being monitored by
the intelligence service—as long as they recognise the basic principles
of our constitutional system... The convictions of those with
alternative political views, which can be expressed, for example, by
someone reading communist literature with enthusiasm or criticising the
government, is not a matter of concern for the intelligence service.”



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